2024 Spring Series #4

Just not the right day for sailing today. Rain, current, debris, and very light wind caused us to cancel all the racing today.

And even after the rain pretty much stopped we wouldn’t have been able to sail as the wind dropped from light to nothing.

But Piercarlo, Dane, and John had their boats ready to go. Nabeel & Frank were there as well working on revitalizing the Fleet 50 website. And Aaron was there to sail w’ Piercarlo & Lisbet

I had RC.

We are kind of having a bad run of weather this spring. This was the 4th Sunday, half way through the Spring Series and so far we have only completed 5 races. The good news here is those who have yet to come out aren’t behind in the series. See everyone next Sunday!

Bobby Astrove

2024 Spring Series #1, #2, and #3

Spring Series #1 was a windy chilly day.  Stew Harris and team started off the four intrepid sailors on a W2.   Only Barney and Justin Harler finished the race.   And that was it.

Spring Series #2 was a light light day.  Aaron Boesenecker and team were lucky to give us one W1.

Spring Series #3 started off light but the wind gradually filled in with the sail home after the four W2 that Dana Howe and team gave us being downright beautiful.

2024-SS1-Albacore

2024-SS1-I20

2024-SS1-Lightning

2024-SS2-Albacore

2024-SS2-Buccaneer

2024-SS2-I20

2024-SS2-Lightning

2024-SS3-Albacore

2024-SS3-Buccaneer

2024-SS3-I20

2024-SS3-Lightning

PRSA Spring Series: Important Information!

The PRS Spring Series is underway!    Please make sure that you’ve registered for the series, signed up for spring RC dates, and read through the rest of the information included below.  Please don’t hesitate to let us know (prsaboard@gmail.com) if you have any questions.

  • Sign up for Race Committee: Skippers must fulfill RC obligations in each series that they wish to be scored in Frostbite, Spring or Fall. Skippers that do not sign up for at least half their slots before the series begins may not be scored for the series. PRO still counts as 2 slots. Starting this season, Skippers must fill 2 slots in the Spring and 2 slots in Fall. This changes the practices of doing all your RC in one series and racing in the other–a change that was requested at the AGM. Skippers may carry over 1 RC slot from the Spring to the Fall series. Non-Lasers Skippers must fill 2 slots for the Spring Series (Lasers only 1).
  • Post-Race Potluck: we will be grilling in the grove after racing on each Sunday.  We encourage your friends and family to join us for these BYO post-race BBQs!  Hanging out around the grill is a great opportunity to reconnect with everybody and perhaps even introduce some new folks to PRSA.  Please remember to bring something for you and your crew for the grill and to drink.
  • Sail Upcycling: we will collect used sails for the Sea Bags sail upcycling program on April 14th.  If you have used sails that you want to donate, bring them to the marina and drop them at drysail slip C-17 (Stas Burgiel’s I-20).  PRSA receives a tool bag or tote bag made from each donated sail that we can use or sell (and the rest of each sail is sold by Sea Bags in support of various good causes in sailing).  Now is a good time to clear out that inventory of old sails and support a good cause in doing so!
  • Email lists: now is a good time to make sure that you and your crew are subscribed to all of the relevant email lists.  If you are receiving this note, you are on the PRSA Google Group (potomacriversailing@googlegroups.com) but you should also make sure that your crew or others you sail with are members.  Instructions on joining are on our website: https://potomacriversailing.org/contact-page/.  You should also make sure that you are on your fleet email list (reach out to your fleet captain for info).

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.  I look forward to seeing everybody on the water and then at the post-race BBQ (along with your friends and family!) on April 14!

2023 ILCA Frostbite Series #18

Hi everybody,

Greetings from 3rd place — belatedly, thanks for your patience! —  on the last day of the frostbite season (can hardly believe it). Many thanks to Tom and Jim for taking one for our collective team and doing race committee and helping us get in 6 races – glad it was a nice afternoon for you guys! Kudos also to Steen and Farley for taking the top two spots.

This is otherwise going to be a short writeup b/c Farley kindly accepted the trade for — what I hope will also become a tradition, at least occasionally — a travel regatta write-up. So see an email shortly about my experience sailing in the Uganda Laser Open earlier this month.

But back to Sunday, briefly. It was forecasted to be a dying wind after gale/near-gale conditions and sometimes it was quite light – but the wind generally held up. The current was going out all afternoon and sometimes it felt like it was the main propellant downwind. The wind was fluky – sometimes the left was better, sometimes the right. Mostly, I tried to look for puffs and keep the boat going fast regardless of where my wind indicator was pointing. I also tried to keep tabs on who was where and how they seemed to be doing (but could have done this more, it would likely have helped!).

Finally – don’t forget to sign up for the Capital City Regatta next weekend!!! —>  https://nextsailor.com/app/page/reg_start/644

See you there!!
Laura

2023 ILCA Frostbite Series #17

I think this is the second time I have raced a Laser since Y2K. Here are some thoughts.

CURRENT: High tide was at 1518, however recent rains to the west must have filled the river as we had an out going current all day.  I am not intimately familiar with this part of the Potomac. Reviewing my RaceQs record (see attached file), the extent of the course for races 2-5 was roughly mid way between the east and west shores. The bathymetry would have gradually increasing depth from right to left looking upwind. I would expect the current to be slower on the west side of the course due to it being shallower water and in the “lee” of the mud flats surrounding the airport landing lights.

WIND: While rigging I had forgotten to install the battens in the sail. Everyone had departed, so I slid the boat from its dolly onto the grass and rolled it over. In the process I saw the dirt and grime covering the hull – figuring that no one would be racing in such light air – and gave it a quick cleaning. By the time I got to the course area I saw the fleet in the final throes of race #1 that was started in an easterly that morphed into a nearly non-existent southerly for the final two legs. The breeze gradually, sporadically filled in from the south for races 2-5. This was nothing like our regular, thermal-driven southerly. More often than not, we saw gusts from the east. The combination of favorable current and SE gusts drew me to the left more often than not. Now, the day’s forecast was for a southerly breeze shifting to west and increasing at around 1400. I was half expecting people to come from the far right, planing into the mark – but this never occurred. The westerly finally showed up, nearly two hours late and right after the final race. Bottom line is that if one were going to pick a side, in the absence of any other indications, the left (east) appeared to be favored. What will it be next time? No freaking clue.

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS: I kept overstanding the windward mark. I don’t recall the Laser being that close winded. Maybe it was me mis judging the current. We had a few fleeting moments where we had to hike and almost enough wind to blow the leech open. I put tell tales in the middle of the sail. None on the leech – its always stalled anyway. My new dry suit worked really well: the relief zipper served its purpose – a heretofore untested and critical piece of technology!

IN SUM: The PRSA frostbite program continues to function well. I recall my first sail on the Potomac during the winter of 1982-83 in penguins and then lasers. Just about all the names have changed but the sailing is still tricky, challenging, and fun. The informal post race social was fun and enhanced by the bright sunshine and 74 deg F temperatures. GF Lee drove down and brought some snacks. Celeste brought Elmarie. Special thanks to Tyler and Eva for serving as RC.

Barney

23-24 PRSA ILCA Frostbite Series #17

2023-2023 ILCA FROSTBITE #14

Sunday was one of the best days of racing I have had this season. While light winds had been forecasted, the wind quickly increased to around ten knots with gusts well above that. It came from the south-southeast but would periodically shift farther southeast and less commonly would shift farther south. The puffs almost always came from the left side of the course. This combined with the prevailing shifts meant that the far left seemed the place to be for most of the day. While the pin was not significantly up for many of the starts, I felt that starting at the pin and taking off left was the way to go. The tide was outgoing the whole day, and so there was very significant up-course current. It took me seven seconds to travel upwind one boat length upwind at the first start while luffing.

The first start, we were in a left shift and most of the fleet was set up for the pin. I was OCS and decided to gybe and head upwind on port. I was lifted for a long time but eventually found a more average angle to tack on and head left. I rounded the weather mark in the back, but caught up to the fleet. The downwinds all day were very interesting. Because the pressure came from the left, a balance had to be struck between staying in the puffs and working to get the inside around the leeward mark. Personally, I found that by staying on the left side I could usually cleanly pass people I might have gotten tangled up with around the mark. I passed a few boats downwind, rounded the mark, and tacked immediately. I was headed for a while, but I got clear air and a very nice shift on the left side that put me in the upper half of the fleet around the top mark. The next downwind was fairly standard, I don’t remember passing anyone. The finishing leg was played very differently to the rest of the racing and overall I thought it was something I could have done better all day. It seemed like it was preferable to stay on port until on layline for the boat and then tack. I ended up finishing around fifth.

The second race went very similar. This time I accounted for the current more and was not over, but did not have a very good start. I decided to stay on starboard longer than anyone else to get clear air, and as a result overstood the layline. All day, I was right on the edge of being able to keep the boat flat in the puffs ( I am very light for the full rig). Being overstood definitely hurt more than normal because it was harder to keep the boat flat in low mode. I rounded the top mark in fifth but had a bad rounding and lost a boat right after. The downwind was very standard and I caught the boat that had passed me. All day, I thought staying more to the course left than your opponents was the only sure way to prevent them getting an excellent shift and making a comeback both upwind and downwind. By the end of the leg, I was overlapped with many boats and attempted to go wide and fall in behind the pinwheel. This did not quite go as intended and I ended up on the outside of a group. I tacked underneath and managed to gain a boat or two back on the upwind just by staying left. By now, the fleet was spread out and again I finished fifth.

The third race, I got an amazing start by winning the pin. Pretty quickly, I got headed but decided to just keep going because of good pressure up ahead. This turned out to be pretty costly and I dropped back to around third. I stayed there for the downwind but closed some distance. Rounding the top mark, I tacked on the first right shift and headed left. Shortly after, the wind began to die all over the course. It stayed a little longer on the right and it looked like some people made good gains over there. However, I could see whitecaps just before the bridge on the left and so headed that way, trusting that the wind would fill in. I have found that in general if the wind is dying and then coming back, betting on the new system rather than the old is favorable. I caught the shift perfectly as the pressure came back and ended up rounding the weather mark in first. I held this to the end of the race and took the win.

Race four, I had another great start at the pin. I found that setting up low was crucial because of the current and that there was enough wind a long runup was not essential. This was another advantage to going left upwind. Deeper water means more current so heading near the channel allowed for better speed upwind. I tacked in a much better place than race three and rounded the weather mark in first. I held on for the downwind, but going back up the wind had increased and I was struggling to keep the boat flat. I was passed by sail 603 as a result. I got close to catching him on the downwind but was unable to and followed him for the rest of the race.

Race five was very similar, I rounded the top mark in second by banging the left corner on the upwind. I was unable to catch the boat in first but managed to hold on until the last leg. Going upwind on port tack, the whole fleet was very lifted. I found a decent shift back and decided to tack sooner, mostly to cover the boats behind me. This turned out to be a mistake as I lost one boat and finished in third. I noticed someone behind me getting to the inside of a pinwheel by going very by the lee in a puff and planing for a few seconds, this seemed to work very well.

Race six, I had a good start but lost my lane quickly and was sucked back into the pack. I stayed left longer than any of the boats near me to get clear air, but two boats went further and both beat me to the weather mark along with a few others. I caught two boats downwind, but lost one back upwind because I went too far left and overstood. On the second downwind, I was sailing by the lee trying to get to a covering position when I was hit with a surprise puff and spun out into a capsize. I got to the board quickly but the sail was on the windward side so when I brought the boat up it flipped over again. I probably should have california rolled, but I had touched the bottom while righting the boat and was unsure if it was deep enough (as well as if my drysuit neck seal was good). I finished last in that race.

All told, it was a fun day on the water with near-ideal conditions that made the racing very interesting and enjoyable. If you could find a good angle on starboard tack, there were almost always opportunities to gain. While the downwind was fairly straightforward with no gybe until the end necessary, this led to great opportunities by playing for the inside and covering your opponents.

Credit to Kaitlyn for getting a good photo!

23-24 PRSA Frostbite Series #14

2023-2023 ILCA FROSTBITE #13

Big thank you to the Race Committee for running 5 great races. The weather was near ideal with the air temp in the 40s and wind between 12 and 19 kts for most of the day. I did consider briefly rigging up my radial sail as I worried that the realized conditions would beat the forecast. However, I gambled that the forecast would be accurate and wouldn’t exceed my cut off point (20 kts+) for wanting an easier rig to manage. Despite not being overpowered, I did manage to capsize upwind during the 3rd and 4th races. After chatting with Farley and Laura onshore, I think it was because I was overcompensating for some recent bad habits (oversteering while tacking and coming out low) and understeering and then crossing the boat too slowly. Laura did have a general comment that outhauls were too tight and people needed to keep some shape in their sails and not over flatten them.

My focus of the day was on having good starts and avoiding people. The line was set for the 15ish boats that signed-in so there was plenty of room to work with only 10 boats starting. With the wind out of the South and a flooding tide weakening the current, I was not worried about being over early. My strategy was to start in the middle and capitalize on the expected midline sag. Each race, I’d find a safety transit (a line from the back of the motor through the pin to something on shore) and aim to start accelerating from a couple boat lengths back at 10 seconds. The strategy worked 4 out of 5 starts with having clear air and on the line at the gun, only time it didn’t work is when I lost sight of Tom and he rolled me. After the start I worked my way up to the windward mark trying to minimize the number of tacks coming in close to the port ley line. Downwind, I worked to the inside to not give up the inside overlap. I was often able to pick up boats at the final leeward mark by rounding well and then sailing to the starboard ley line and finishing at the boat.

Tyler

23-24 PRSA Frostbite Series #13

2023-2023 ILCA Frostbite #12

Here is your post game third place writeup from sailing today!

Today was definitely one of those days where you needed to show up to see what was happening on the river.  While the forecast was for really light and rain all day, it turned out to be a really nice day.  The wind stayed all day between 5 and 8 knots out of slightly east of north.  Thanks to Chris and Logan for running 6 races for us!  And it really only rained for 2 races which also had the best wind.

As for the racing, there were no over early boats due to a strong out flowing current.  This meant that there was also considerable line sag that needed to be watched out for.  It also meant that you needed to be smart about your tacks.  I felt like each time I tacked I slid back a little on the course.  This was most evident if you missed the ley line at the windward mark and had to do a quick double tack.

I felt like starts were the most important part of the day.  Chris and Logan did a really good job adjusting the start line each race.  As mentioned, I think there was likely considerable sag in the line each start which mean some people would start “on the line” and be a boat length behind at the beginning.  With a well set line, the pin should be slightly favored and it was each race, but the wind shifts and the length of the line made me think the boat might be a good starting spot.  I was wrong every time I did this and ended up playing catchup attempting to catch Steen and Laura.  My better races were definitely the ones where I started at the pin.  I think this was due to the line sag and wind direction at or shortly after each start that allowed the pin starting boats to tack and cross the fleet.

Other important thoughts all day were:

  • Keep clear air going down wind.  This was relatively easy since you were automatically by the lee when rounding the windward mark on starboard and it was difficult for people to get on top of you if you just stayed a little bit inside of boat behind you.
  • Do not pinch upwind.
  • Watch for the shifts.

And unlike two other similar days this season with heavy current and light wind, the wind was a little more than those and you did not need to foot as much to make headway up river against the current.  You could sail a little more “normal”.

It is also very interesting that we had a 4 way tie for places 5-8!  There was a lot of really close sailing today!

Hope to see everyone out next week!

Farley

23-24 PRSA Frostbite Series #12

PRSA Happy Hour February 27, 7pm, at Solace (Navy Yard)

Hi sailors,

Our next happy hour will be at Solace in Navy Yard at 7pm on February 27th. This is a great opportunity to connect with other PRSA members, as well as possibly recruit new members to PRSA and find yourself crew! Sailors from DC Sail will be invited as well. Please RSVP (natalierehberger@me.com).
Solace has food options and is close to the Navy Yard metro stop. There is some street parking and there are parking garages in the area.
Natalie Rehberger
PRSA Social Chair